HC Deb 04 March 1895 vol 31 cc274-6
SIR W. WEDDERBURN (Banffshire)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether, at the annexation of Nagpur, the private personal property of the Rajah was sold by Government, and converted into a fund of about 29 lakhs of rupees for the maintenance of the family, under the name of the Bhousla Fund; whether this fund has been accredited to Government without the consent of the Rajah; and whether the Secretary of State has received a memorial on the subject, addressed to him by the Rajah through the Government of India in October last?


The fund referred to was created in 1854 as part of the arrangements consequent upon the lapse of the Nagpur State. It consisted of the proceeds of the sale of jewels and other property, and was intended to provide pensions for the members of the late Court, apart from the special provision made for the father of the present memorialist. The fund originally amounted to 29 lakhs, but owing to payments which had to be made, on capital account, this had to be reduced to 17 lakhs in 1864. And in that year, as it was clear that the income of the fund was quite insufficient to bear the charges upon it, it was decided to wind it up. The amount of the fund was credited to Government, and the pensions chargeable to it have been since paid from the general revenues of the country. A memorial from the Rajah of Deor, dated 8th September 1894, dealing with this among other subjects, has been considered by me in Council. The despatch conveying my decision went to India by mail of 1st March; but I may take this opportunity to say that I have declined to interfere on the memorialist's behalf.


I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India (1) whether the site and remains of the ancient palace of the Bhousla family at Nagpur have, in spite of the Rajah's written protest, been recently handed over to the municipality for the purpose of erecting a town hall; (2) whether the Government of India had previously declared in writing that the Rajah's occupation of the palace would never be disturbed so long as he paid a barleycorn rent, and executed the repairs; and (3) whether the Rajah has stated his willingness to pay the rent and execute the repairs rendered necessary by an accidental fire?


The information in my possession is to the following effect. In 1862 the then Rajah of Deor was informed that the palace referred to by my hon. Friend belonged to the State, but that he and his relatives would be permitted to occupy it on condition that he kept it in repair, and paid a barleycorn rent. The fire referred to in the last paragraph of the question took place in 1864, and the palace was burnt down. With the sanction of the Government of India, other arrangements were then made for the accommodation of the Rajah and his relatives, a new palace being built on a fresh site, which was also State property. At the same time, the site of the old palace was declared to be at the disposal of the Government; a part of it was utilised accordingly for the permanent occupation of a normal school. I understand that the site has now been handed over to the municipality for the erection of a town hall.

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